Katarzyna Skonieczna

Born in Poland (Krakow). Living in Ireland (Cork).

In 2010 graduated from Crawford College of Art in Cork with BA (Hons.), specialized in painting.

Studying towards MA of Modern and Contemporary Art at UCC, Cork.

Studied Polish Philology and Philosophy at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland.

Proud parent of Miriam and Bernard.

12 responses to “Kasia

  • Richard Woods

    interesting site, i feel art is 5050. 50% technique and 50% philosophical. The technique or quality is important visually especially with a viewer’s first impression. A philosophical side or reason for its existence is also very important in giving a work value and a purpose, if an artist wants lots of people to look at their work surely it must have something of significance to say to them? I think both technique and philosophy can get lost in the comercial market these days. feel free to have a look at some of my works on my website.

  • skonieczna

    Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I would agree with you generally. Energy of thought behind is what makes an artwork ‘alive and kicking’, technique allows it to have a respectable, decent ‘face’, but – as for me – it’s a chemistry of passions, emotions burning within that cast a spell upon a viewer (if an artist has been successful in his/her attempts).
    Have you ever seen work by Peter Howson? You could find it interesting. All the best.

  • Nan Goldin - I’ll be your mirror « La Ivolution

    […] και το post της Katarzyna Skonieczna […]

  • Galerie Michael Schultz Berlin

    Dear Katarzyna,

    you might be interested in this text on Burkhard Held’s mountains. It was published in a Portugese catalogue (Árvore, Porto) last September. Best, Galerie Michael Schultz Berlin:

    Christian Malycha
    The Towering of the Pictures and the Tribulations of the Mountains. Burkhard Held

    Burkhard Held has painted boxers for a long time – some well-known and others less accomplished. The frame of the canvas became a boxing ring for him, strictly limited to the ropes, a place of no escape. The tragic heads were the opponents which enthralled him and refused to let loose. In larger than life dimensions, he captured in his painting the moments of impact created by the adversarial fist, and the last desperate attempts at rearing up in defence. Concentrated tension, brutality and extreme physical presence produced pictures which were bursting with solitary busts.

    These FACESSCAPES are no artless renderings of events from the match, however, even when, in many cases, certain fights served as sources of inspiration, and some of the boxers are at times recognizable. What actually is revealed in Held’s “face-scapes” is his mastery in staging combative collisions of vigour in his colors. These are applied massively to the canvas, battered apart, and whipped stroke by stroke onto the plane. Regardless as to whether the head in question happens to lose its contour and bust into pieces (with a swollen black eye at times providing us with a reference point), the picture is nonetheless and downright beaten into shape.

    The daily work undertaken in his studio is by all means comparable to the constant training required of the boxer. The painter peers, steps back, moves forward, looks again, takes a tactical step to the right, falls back, aims, surveys, and auditions various stroke results – may they be upper-cutting or downward slashing ones, sweeping strikes or straight and pungent – in order to finally overcome the canvas in a fury of pugnacity until it is finally “overwhelmed,” ultimately standing victoriously before the beholder as an autonomous picture.

    As time went on, however, these beaten up and battered down physiognomies began to break open and spread themselves out upon the canvas as facial shreds or simply loosely together painted patches which have worn out the contours. If the tense agglomeration of movement and directional force had filled the paintings before, they now began to become more porous. Planar subtractions and airy blurring lightened the enclosed volumes of the heads. Hard broken edges and cracks were unfolded. The image ground fought its way toward the forefront and began to beleaguer the remaining facial elements. The flat plane, non-representational blotches and line contours placed onto and inserted into the picture suddenly began demanding their own rights of way, now emphasizing the surrounding space of the picture’s interior as opposed to the previous over-dimensional head forms. The heads were transformed into landscapes. Almost inadvertently, Held’s previous “face-scapes” were renewed and entangled into “picture-scapes.”

    For a good deal of time now, Held has felt the need to spread out the massiveness of the heads, pulling it into the plane and allowing more “landscape” to return into his pictures. From out of his boxer portraits, at first almost unnoticeably but then increasingly unmistakable, landscapes and then, finally, massively layered mountain paintings arose.

    To be sure, however, Held now faced the new difficulty of not wanting to simply “place” these mountains into his pictures. The mere impact of nature and mountains found little resonance within him and, furthermore, the art-historical prominence of the mountain motif seemed hardly to provide fertile ground. Though he wanted to have the weighty gloominess of a mountain range in his pictures, neither Friedrich’s abysmal emotionalization of the WATZMANN, nor Kirchner’s alpine nervousness in the Davos paintings nor Holder’s sentimental ranges were able to provide him with any foothold. Having exhausted himself on the FACESSCAPES motif, having finally succeeded in so brutally wiping it out, the new pictures were not to spring up from out of the new motif but the latter to emerge as if simply in passing from the painting and its color.

    It is actually a “grotesque deception of realistic representational art,”1 that it lure one into wanting, through virtuoso fixation on details and truehearted plays of the brush, to approach nature as closely as possible. One cannot simply paint down the world; one needs time and again to reconstitute it on a painterly level – “parallel to nature,”2 as Cézanne so liked to say. Painting is a continuous act of creation, which allows the world to come into being through the absolutely singular gesture of color.

    In carrying out his work, Held did not choose his painterly parents methodically.3 Wrestling with one’s own painting is always more an embracing and a shoving away of tradition. There is no safe and reliable choice or previously forged path. It is often the unconscious affinities felt toward other pictures that reveal to artists which of their predecessors they may be drawn toward and which painters give them hold: for Held, at first in drawing, it was Giacometti; later, when the color came, it was Cézanne and Matisse, and still later de Kooning, Rothko, and Clifford Still. His engagement with the London School of Painting was like a clarifying shock for him. It had been clear to him that he wanted to paint for painting’s sake, but he had remained unwilling to betray figurative representation for any kind of complacent abstraction or because of any soul-infused Tachisme. In Frank Auerbach, Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud, he now found spokesmen for the idea that painting is able to tell visual tales without talking them into the ground. Whether a picture’s figures happen to be recognizable or non-representational plays no role in this; only all too often, it is the non-motif related and indescribable forms which truly make the painting.

    One evades blatant subject matter by drowning it in color like Auerbach, or crudely squelching it like Bacon, or, as with Freud, by pulverizing every pore of it between each rubbery fold of skin, or, in the case of Held, by beating it into submission. In this way, a kind of subject-related abstraction arose which was no longer bound to abandoning the figurative. The motif is never there from the outset; pictorial ideas are far from being pictures. A pictural motif must literally be constructed, wrested by the artist from the bare material of the color. That is because, fundamentally, as opposed to the motif, painting itself rather presents a kind of detour or interference – an interference, let it be said, however, which exposes and reveals the things of the world.

    Just such a “detour” was also taken by Held in crossing his heads to get to the mountains. There were no existing motifs for finding his way in doing so. Instead, in the brazen candidness of the picture plane, the moldering head-parts and chunks of color were suddenly thrown into a mountainous pile of rubble. The white canvas is at first dressed with a fine wash and colored underpainting, providing the structure with an initial base of resistance, with which all that follows must come to terms. The tormenting question as to “Where do I begin?” is thereby done away with. These grounds possess their own individual textures and rhythms; when painted in blue, they now become colder, when in pink or orange, now warmer. Additionally, the washes help to build up a workable surface stock, so that there is no danger of the painting’s slipping up on any possibly remaining white holes.

    Upon this sedimentation of color, Held then layers and piles up single form-chippings, facial expressions, blobs and shreds, each element in full equivalence with the other. From out of the shimmering flesh tones, the gruffly facetted stones of K2 are illuminated with the reflection of pinkish-orange sheet lightning, which surrounds the shattered mountain with a light veil of tones, leaving it eminently present in colorful immediacy. From out of the form of a falling head, the jagged portrait of a RED MOUNTAIN is unmistakably present in all its rawness. From out of the pitted plate tectonics of NIGHT COMES, complete with its pushing planes, a thick mass of color is born, a steeply jetting colored cliff, which, as if backlit, thrusts its way outward through the mistily clouded heavens. Darkly hung and heavily weighted color brews dangerously behind the MONTE ROSA into the violet and blue foreboding of threatening weather.

    Held is in no way exclusively bent on setting off such rugged masses of color, however. Pictures such as K1 appear dissimilarly vulnerable. Analogue to the meditative and absent-mindedly staring figure, one is not able to discern whether the blow is yet to come or has already done its damage. A lightly violet cloud drifts across the figure’s forehead; at the level of its chin, a second tender little cloud lingers, having slipped out of reach of the opponents glove. It is an intensely contemplative picture in that, despite its immense discharge of power, it succeeds down to the core in entirely collecting itself in beige and olive tones, standing tall among the gold leaf backdrop of icon-like serenity.

    THE ROCK is a painting with equally tragic bearing. The encompassing darkness is torn asunder, making way for a forward bent head. The head falls like a “stone,” rebounding, badly shaken, off of the picture plane. It is only the modest beamy framed box, at the level of the mouth, which helps to refocus our vision, allowing the image to reach a standstill for an instant, so that the traumatic jarring which embraces the picture and brings it to tremble be palpable. Due to the inclusion of the mouth piece, the entire image unceasingly trembles within one and deploys the maimed figure into a continual tremor of convulsive thrusting.

    This is not to exclude the two paintings MAX B. and BECKMANN, which, in their tenacious callousness and their bloated agglutination gruffly mire all gandering, at the same time allowing it, through the thinly flowing drips and washes, to penetrate into the mattly painted depths. For a time, both pictures were untitled. That changed when, from among the angular box-like physiognomies and the phantasmal transparency, Held saw what seemed to be the wistful countenance of Max Beckmann form and then finally endure. In contrast, WALK THE LINE is an effusive picture which causes the gaze to glide down along contorted expressions and ornamental contours, away from the filigree construction of the massif, as otherwise only windy bands of clouds can do.

    All of this comes forth from out of an unbroken, agitated and stirring passion for color itself: for clear orange and tender pink, an unyielding ultramarine, a soothing violet, sandy yellow and mild blue, with innumerable halftones and intermediate layers. With nonchalant carelessness, even harsh contrasts and breaches in the color scheme are taken in stride, at least so long as the pictures are captured, with all of their edges and corners, in immediacy and resistance to time, within the format, thereby solidified upon the wall.

    In his latest paintings, with measured pathos, Burkhard Held has virtually worked his way through stone. With constant gesture, he has brought mark after mark, layer after layer, coat after coat onto the paintings – truly as if he were chiselling stone. From the straightforwardness of the boxing ring, he moved out onto the open canvas and exposed himself to the tribulations of the mountains – in now raw and brutal, now invisible and heart wrenching sentimental pictures, but always with complete and utter confidence placed in painting.4

    (Translation: Nathan Moore)

    1 Samuel Beckett “Proust,” Zürich 1960, p. 63.
    2 Paul Cézanne as quoted by Joachim Gasquet, “Was er mir gesagt hat,” in “Gespräche mit Cézanne” published by Michael Doran, Zürich 1982, p. 137.
    3 See Robert Hughes “Frank Auerbach,” London 1990, p. 9: “We do not choose our parents. Painters are drawn to their ancestors by a homing impulse that works below ‘strategy’.”
    4 Also as according to Rudy Burckhardt in “Long Ago with Willem de Kooning,” in “Art Journal: Willem de Kooning, on his eighty-fifth Birthday;” published by Bill Berkson, among others, Vol. 48, No. 3, New York 1989, p. 224: “What you do when you paint, he once told me, you take a brush full of paint, get paint on the picture, and you have fate (that is, faith, as pronounced with a Dutch accent).”

  • skonieczna

    Thank you.
    This is what one could call the “full answer” to a question!
    Though, I regard this as an exception as I won’t accept any more ‘article-like’ comments. Thanks anyway, that for bringing even closer the profile of this artist.

  • annette noevers

    you are the ..maker..of the lullebays films, i love them all they go strait to my heart with love annette…sorry for my bad english

  • Jan Woodhouse

    I just want to say how much I enjoy your inspirational website. I first discovered it by accident, I think when I was gathering info for a ‘modern painters’ course, and have been back into it a number of times since. I want to add a page listing various interesting websites on my own very recently conceived website and would like to include yours so hope you don’t have a problem with this.
    I shall continue to follow your thoughts.
    All best wishes,

  • Tony

    Bonjour Katarzyna.

    Je viens de découvrir votre site.
    Je n’est bien évidement pas tout parcourus, mais, vos écris mon suffit à vous poster ce petit mot.
    Je rejoins votre vision Artistique, j’aime beaucoup!
    Ça me fait un bol d’air frais de regarder ailleurs que mes références habituelles…
    Terra Incognita, Oui c’est juste!

    La grâce vous accompagne.

    Un Artiste de Bretagne.

  • susan montgomery

    Hi, i came across your website by accident, whilst looking at Nathalie Djurbergs work.I like your thoughts and your writing. I would like to invite you to this show if you are around. I am an artist based in Clonakilty, West Cork. Are you based in the city? Regards

    An exhibition of works on paper by Aoife Desmond, Yvonne Woods, Susan montgomery, Sarah O Brien, Caroline Byrne and Shirley Fitzpatrick, curated by Susan Montgomery.

    Opening Thursday the 2nd of June 6.30pm at The Winery, Astna Square, Clonakilty, accompanied by the music of the Mariposa Ensemble

    ‘Charta’ comes for the latin word meaning paper. What each artist represents in this show is a snapshot – a tender insight into their individual practices. Drawing occupies a very important position within the working process of the artist, providing the link between the ideas and their execution. In drawing there is a significant way in which the artist treats the paper.
    The raw and vulnerable qualities of paper invite an intimacy between the viewer and the artist, as if following the movement of the hand across its fragile surface enabling a closer relationship with the making of the work.

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